The teachers were given The School Staff Award by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) as part of Anti-Bullying Week 2022 after successful pupil nominations 

The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum’s (NIABF) School Staff Award, which is in its second year, has been given to two very special teachers.

Mr Paul Coulter of St Patrick’s Primary School in Ballynahinch, won the primary element of the competition while Mrs Mandy Wright of New-Bridge Integrated College in Loughbrickland took the Secondary School title. The two winners will enjoy an overnight stay with breakfast for two people at Europa Hotel in Belfast, courtesy of Hastings Hotels.

Both teachers were nominated by pupils at their schools for their contribution to ending bullying through innovative initiatives and investing in the wellbeing of the school community.

Mr Coulter’s nomination talked about his creative assemblies that promote Anti-Bullying Week’s theme this year, ‘Reach Out’.

Nominee Anna, a pupil in primary seven at St Patrick’s said: “There isn’t a lot of bullying in our school because of everything Mr Coulter does. In assembly, he talks about feelings and explains what bullying is. He tells us what to do if we feel we are getting bullied and reminds us about the different people we can talk to. He’s one of the people we can go to. He got worry boxes in all of our classes and organised Josh from The Edge to provide a listening space for us.

“If there is a problem, he makes everyone comfortable, even the child who has made the wrong choice. He helps everyone to reflect on choices.”

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Mr Paul Coulter of St Patrick’s Primary School in Ballynahinch and Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.

At Loughbrickland, Mrs Wright was commended by pupils for being a positive role model and demonstrating a passion for helping others, even travelling to support out-of-school-hour team games.

Amelia in Year 10 at the school said: “She is what we would describe as a listening ear and doesn’t judge but she asks the right questions.”

She added: “One thing she always does is spread positivity and enthusiasm  She runs a Den area in our school where Anti Bullying Ambassadors can work with pupils and none of this would be possible without her leadership. Mrs Wright has reached so many pupils with her important message of kindness and compassion.”

Jake in Year 12 said: “She can see when challenges can be turned into opportunities. She leads whole school events and assemblies.

“Mrs Wright has trained not only our Anti Bullying Ambassadors but also all Anti Bullying Ambassadors in the Banbridge schools. She led a whole day in a local hotel, The Belmont, where we all received excellent training on the new legislation Addressing Bullying in Schools and we even produced an animation for Anti-Bullying Week which was used in all schools.”

The School Staff Award by the NIABF is in its second year and commends members of the school community who have gone above and beyond in their bid to end bullying and have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ‘Reach Out’ to prevent and respond to bullying, and to raise awareness of bullying in their school community.

It is part of Anti-Bullying Week, an event that is in its 22nd year this week. That weeklong affair is coordinated by the NIABF with its long-standing supporter, Translink playing a vital role in key message delivery.

The School Staff Award was announced at Anti-Bullying Week 22’s first-ever anti-bullying conference.

It took place on Wednesday, November 16 at the Whitla Hall, Queen’s University and saw hundreds of people who work with children come together to understand how psychology can contribute to bullying.

Congratulating the winners, Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum Chair, Kathleen Toner, said: “We are delighted to award the second ever School Staff Award to Mr Coulter and Mrs Wright. These two professionals are the benchmark for how we can do better in schools everywhere to support our children through incidences of bullying and indeed to help end it.

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“We had more entries than ever this year which tells us schools are working very hard to end bullying and that is the main goal of the NABF. It also tells us that these efforts are not going unnoticed by students and pupils who are benefitting from the work schools are doing.”

Anti-Bullying Week 2022 is coordinated by the NIABF and returned this November 14-18.

The event aims to encourage children and young people from across Northern Ireland to reach out to their peers, adults and support networks to break the cycle of bullying.

With more resources than ever, Anti-Bullying Week 2022 is equipping schools with a comprehensive suite of information to ensure their participation in the event is as productive as possible.

Using the theme ‘Reach Out’ Anti-Bullying Week (ABW) 2022 has been developed with the help of over 300 children and young people from across the UK.

NIABF is an interagency group hosted by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and funded by the Department of Education.

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